Filed Under:

Goodbye, Gadhafi: A Dream Made Into Reality

Play associated audio

Sarah Burshan is a student at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Thursday, Oct. 20 is a day I will never forget.

My brother woke me up at 5 a.m. He kept repeating, "They got him, they caught Gadhafi!" I was so dazed, I didn't believe it. A world without Moammar Gadhafi? It seemed too good to be true.

I was born in Kansas, but I have always been a Libyan. Before I was born, my parents were active in the opposition. When my father finished high school, he knew that the only options for those opposed to Gadhafi were jail or death. He chose instead to leave the country.

After he left, he and my mom were married. It was a big wedding, and all their friends and relatives attended. The only person missing was the groom — the wedding was in Libya.

This morning, my whole family was speechless. I called my father, who was so excited he couldn't think of anything to say to me. Later, he was interviewed on Al-Jazeera. "Do you feel like you're dreaming?" they asked. "It's too good to be a dream," he replied.

This has been a long process. We were hopeful when the protests began. My mom began to shop for furniture. I told her this was no time to redo our house. But she told me, "These things are for our home in Libya."

We called my relatives in Libya. My uncle cried on the phone: "You can come home, you can come home!" He doesn't know his nieces and nephews. He doesn't know his own siblings. They have lived in a different world for over 20 years.

But then, things turned violent. We began to hear reports of Gadhafi's crimes against the Libyan people. Our hope began to fade. Then reports that Gadhafi's sons had been caught turned out to be false. Each time we got bad news, we felt that our hope of a free Libya were getting further away.

So when I called my grandmother in Libya today, she was crying — but this time with happiness.

I'm taking a year off from school this year to help out and volunteer in Libya. A year ago, moving home would have seemed crazy. Who would want to live in a country run by a dictator, where the youth have no dreams?

But today, it doesn't seem ridiculous. In fact, it's just starting to seem possible.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Star Wars' Editors Defy Hollywood Conventions

In a film industry often dominated by men, there's at least one exception: Many editors are women. Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey speak about their work on the new Star Wars.
NPR

Florida Says Its Fruits, Vegetables Are Safe From Invasive Fruit Fly

Since September, Florida has been fighting an infestation of the Oriental fruit fly, an invasive pest that threatened more than 400 crops. The state declared the insect eradicated as of Saturday.
NPR

7 Things To Know About Presidential Appointments To The Supreme Court

Republicans are adamant they will stop anyone President Obama names to replace for Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. It's possible Obama's nominee would face the longest wait in history for a vote.
NPR

West Point Students' Plan To Counter ISIS Online Strategy

The State Department sponsored a contest to find the best ways to combat ISIS propaganda online. A group of cadets from West Point got second prize. Rachel Martin speaks with team member CJ Drew.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.